How will you contribute to the Puddle Pod?
The fifth question on the Puddle Pod application form took me by surprise. “How will you contribute to the Puddle Pod?”
I applied to this virtual productivity course because I needed a mental reset. After 18 months of COVID lockdowns and restrictions, I was on a mission to achieve better work-life integration and improve my productivity. However, while I wanted to participate in a cohort course to share ideas and learn from others, pro-actively contributing to the community by creating content was not top of mind.
But questions are a powerful thing.
Questions are powerful because they elicit action and create change. They can spark curiosity, ideas, and innovation. Powerful questions can provide clarity and focus, challenge assumptions, reframe a situation, cause seismic mental shifts, and open the mind to new possibilities.
So after a brief pause, I wrote in my application form that I'm not much of a writer but that I'd be willing to create some mind maps and visualisations to capture some of the Puddle Pod magic. (I may have neglected to mention that I'm not much of an artist myself - I am utterly devoid of artistic ability and flair, and only recently started exploring sketch noting and information visualisation.)
Throughout the eight weeks of Puddle Pod, I met with my pod each Sunday at 8 am for our weekly check-in. I then spent a few hours adding content to my Puddle Pod mind map and creating a series of minimalistic visuals that captured something that resonated with me from that week's content. And in doing so, I found myself carving out time in my busy week to be creative, relax, let my mind wander, acquire new skills, and have some fun.
There was something magical, unique and visceral about creating the visuals. The process of considering content from different perspectives, and allowing creativity to come into productivity.
Life is about creating systems and processes that enable you to be the best version of yourself while achieving your goals. In retrospect, I wanted more from Puddle Pod than just to improve my productivity. I just didn’t know what that was…
By committing to self-improvement and contributing to the community through content creation, I leveled up my productivity, improved my work-life balance and discovered unexpected magic in nurturing a budding artistic outlet. That is the power of questions!
You can check out my Puddle Pod mind map and content visualisations below.
Lastly, a big shout out to my Puddle Pod pod-mates: Sam, Caleb & Matthew.
About Puddle Pod
Puddle Pod, an 8-week virtual productivity course curated by learning and efficiency enthusiast Micheal Batko. Puddle Pod is a cohort experience where you get to implement practical tips to optimise your personal and professional life, relationships, tools of the trade (Gmail, Macbook, Calendar). The cohort is divided into pods, with each pod having 4-5 members in it. Each week, you catch up with your pod to discuss the content and homework, reflect on what you've learned and implemented, and hold each other accountable in forming new habits and implementing change.
Interactive mind map:
Puddle Pod Course Summary
How to navigate the mind map
You can scroll around the mind map canvas, zoom in and out, fold and unfold branches.
You can also use the toolbar in the bottom right to set the zoom percentage (left icon), go into full-screen mode (middle icon), or expand the mind map into a separate tab (right icon).
Downloadable versions of mind map
PDF version of the mind map - graphics included, and all branches unfolded.
PDF text-only version of the mind map.